UND blows up SD Mines in season openerGRAND FORKS — The University of North Dakota’s football motto this season is “Think Big, 2012,” a reference to the program’s move to the Big Sky Conference and its successful five-year transition to Division I.
By: Wayne Nelson, Forum Communications
GRAND FORKS — The University of North Dakota’s football motto this season is “Think Big, 2012,” a reference to the program’s move to the Big Sky Conference and its successful five-year transition to Division I.
Indeed, UND was on the big stage Thursday night at the Alerus Center, dominating — as expected — South Dakota Mines to the tune of 66-0 before 8,874 fans.
The new era of UND football was nearly perfect. UND unveiled its new black uniforms.
The Alerus Center finally had a new, player-friendly turf and coach Chris Mussman’s team was sharp on both sides of the ball.
There was only one glitch — and it could be a season-turning glitch.
Starting quarterback Braden Hanson went down with a broken bone in his right leg midway through the second quarter.
Mussman said Hanson is expected to be out two to three weeks.
“We hope to get him back in time for the Big Sky opener,” Mussman said.
Hanson’s injury aside, UND rolled for four quarters.
By halftime, UND led 45-0 and had racked up 437 yards. And UND’s defense held the Hardrockers to 142 total yards on 53 plays.
“It was a good day all around,” UND senior running back Mitch Sutton said.
UND scored on all of its first-half possessions as Hanson was sharp, completing 13-of-14 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns before his injury.
The second half belonged to the twos and threes on the UND depth chart but there was no drop-off in production. UND punter Brett Cameron punted only once, that coming with three minutes to play.
UND finished with 653 yards of offense and threw for 283 yards, completing 18 of 20 passes. In the second half, UND threw only twice.
Jake Miller led UND with 178 yards on 12 carries, including a touchdown.
Hanson’s injury was the storyline of the game, but UND’s offense didn’t falter behind backup quarterback Marcus Hendrickson, a senior who has split time at quarterback and receiver during his career.
“I felt poised and I felt calm,” said Hendrickson, who completed 5 of 6 passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
His teammates agreed.
“We didn’t skip a beat when Marcus came into the huddle,” said Miller.
The opener was one of the most anticipated in UND’s football history.
But UND knew little about Mines, a team transitioning from the NAIA to Division II. But UND didn’t need to know much. It just executed its game plan.
“We were a little nervous coming into the game, not knowing what to expect,” Mussman said. “But offensively, we scored on our first drive. Defensively, we got off to a little bit of a slow start but we finished strong.”
Mines 0 0 0 0 — 0
UND 14 31 7 14 — 66
UND–Seth Wisthoff 14 pass from Braden Hanson (Zeb Miller kick), 12:35.
UND–Jameer Jackson fumble recovery (Miller kick), 6:56.
UND–Mitch Sutton 7 run (Miller kick), 14:24.
UND–Miller 22 field goal, 8:24.
UND–Sutton 1 run (Miller kick), 5:20.
UND–Greg Hardin 44 pass from Marcus Hendrickson (Miller kick), 3:30.
UND–Blair Townsend 11 pass from Hendrickson (Miller kick), :19.
UND–Jake Miller 36 run (Tanner Naastad kick), 7:40.
UND–P.J. Sparks 2 run (Naastad kick), 14:52.
UND–Adam Shaugabay 21 run (Naastad kick), 11:12.
TEAM STATISTICS Mines UND
First downs 9 29
Rushes-yards 19-24 48-370
Passing yards 118 283
Comp.-Att.-Int. 20-34-0 18-20-0
Total yards 142 653
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 4-35 10-97
Punts-Avg. 8-40.9 1-24
RUSHING: Mines, Jahmel Rover 6-23, Chris Sawdey 8-11, Deshaun Scott 3-1, Mike Zanutto 2-(-minus)11. UND, Jake Miller 12-178, P.J. Sparks 12-97, Mitch Sutton 8-61, Adam Shaugabay 10-49, team 2-(-minus) 5, Braden Hanson 4-(-minus)10.
PASSING: Mines, Zanutto 20-34-0, 118. UND, Hanson 13-14-0, 188; Marcus Hendrickson 5-6-0, 95.
RECEIVING: Mines, Xavier Matthews 5-40, Marshall Davis 5-33, Sawdey 4-18, Scott 3-20, Bernis Berber 2-6, Joey Oberdorfer 1-1. UND, Jameer Jackson 4-67, R.J. McGill 4-61, Greg Hardin 3-103, Jon Heimler 1-16, Seth Wisthoff 1-14, Blair Townsend 1-11, Romon Bridges 1-8, Ethan Magstadt 1-2, Jake Miller 1-2, Seth Nichols 1-(-minus)1.